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Definition of Minority

(noun) A definable category of people who share an identity or status and are subject to prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.

Example of Minority

  • African-Americans in the United States

Minority Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: mi·nor·i·ty

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /muh-nOR-uh-tee/
  • British English – /mie-nOr-i-tee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /maɪˈnɔrədi/
  • British English – /mʌɪˈnɒrᵻti/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: minorities
  • Minorities can feel a heightened sense of solidarity based on oppression.
  • Sociologists do not always use term in the numerical sense, but referring to a subordinate position of minorities in the social hierarchy.
  • Some sociologists prefer the term “minority” over “minority group” because of the different lived experiences and lack of interaction between potential members.
  • Some minorities are model minorities.

Related Quotations

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms


Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Marger, Martin. 1985. Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.

Stevens, Gillian. 2011. “diversity.” Pp. 154 in The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by G. Ritzer and J. Ryan. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Minority

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “minority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 14, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

minority. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “minority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 14, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“minority.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 14 Jul. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/>.